ANAHEIM, Calif. – For the second game in a row, the Ducks faced off against a team on the backend of a back-to-back. After a crushing 5-1 loss to the Kings last night, the St. Louis Blues were looking to get back in the win column, as were the Ducks.
A slow start plagued Anaheim once again as they went down 2-0 after the first, similar to Friday night’s game against the Panthers. A turnover from Alex Killorn allowed Jake Neighbours to convert while Pavel Buchnevich scored in close on the power play off the back of a Mason McTavish double-minor for high sticking and a Pavel Mintyukov hooking penalty right after.
“That was on me,” said Killorn. The veteran surmised that players have started to turn the puck over too much in an effort to create more offense, which he says they haven’t been doing enough of. “I forced one in the (defensive zone) and that puts us down one.”
A goal from Urho Vaakanainen, when the game was still scoreless midway through the first, was waved off after a video review showed that the zone entry was offsides. It’s the second time this season that a goal has been taken away from the Finn, who will have to keep waiting for his first NHL goal.
An Alexey Toropchenko goal early in the second would give the Blues a 3-0 lead, but Mason McTavish would draw one back for the Ducks just a few minutes later. Some new-look lines graced Honda Center as head coach Greg Cronin mixed things around to try and get his team going.
Leo Carlsson––who drew back into the lineup after sitting out Friday’s game due to load management––centered Frank Vatrano and Ryan Strome while Killorn and Max Jones flanked Mason McTavish. Troy Terry was dropped down to the third line with Jakob Silfverberg and Adam Henrique. However, for the second game in a row, Cronin opted to roll with three lines late in the third period as the team pushed for more offense.
“I didn’t see a lot of energy, which surprised me,” said Cronin. “I thought they’d be flying. There wasn’t a lot of energy and then I think the penalties––the four-minute and then the two-minute right after that––probably weren’t a good situation for us. We weren’t getting into a rhythm.”
Cronin liked what he saw out of the Carlsson and McTavish lines, but felt that they needed more from the rest of their forwards as well.
The Ducks continue to generate plenty of scoring chances at 5-on-5 but haven’t been able to convert on those chances. They do perhaps need a little bit more offense from their bottom-6, who have done a good job of limiting scoring chances but have done little when it comes to creating chances as well.
“We’ve got to find ways to create more offense,” said Killorn. “I don’t think we’ve been doing enough. Teams play well defensively. I think we’ve just got to find ways to get pucks to the net. We’ve got to win battles in front of the net.”
Cronin continues to preach a mentality of having a high shot volume. “We don’t shoot the puck enough. I say it pretty much after every game, we have opportunities to shoot it. We’ve got to try and turn our team into a shot volume team and stop making lateral passes and try and generate rebounds off it.”